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Joseph Primed for Egypt

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
… as Enlilite strategy to repossess the strategically significant country is operationalised

For expelling the Hykso-Hebrews from Egypt and reuniting the country for the first time in 500 years, the Bantu Pharaoh Ahmose (whose name meant “Begotten of Ea”, Ea being an alternative name for Enki, the Anunnaki god of Africans) became a legend. He became the founder of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, which ushered in a golden era of Egypt which lasted right through to about the end of the 14th century BC.  Simultaneously,   the 18th Dynasty marked the inception of the so-called New Kingdom.

The New Kingdom spanned the 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties of Egypt and was in force from the 16th to the 11th century BC.  Egypt was not only at the height of its economic success during this period but was also at the peak of its power militarily. Just how did Ahmose (and his late older brother Kamose, in whose steps he dutifully followed), who was only 20 years old when he took on  the Hyksos, manage to rout the Hyksos, who were so militarily strong they had turned southern Egypt into a vassal state?

Two reasons can be ventured.  First, the Hyksos were so cruel and callous in the way they treated the black Egyptians every black Egyptian was prepared to die just to be rid of them. The ancient Egyptian historian Manetho informs us that Hyksos made a habit of burning down  cities, destroying temples, and enslaving women and children just to flex muscles. It was not the Hebrews who were enslaved first in Egypt: it was  the  indigenous Egyptians who were first enslaved by the Hebrews, a settler race.  

But there’s another and probably more pertinent reason as to why the weaker subjects (southern Egyptians)  pulled off the otherwise inconceivable  feat of chasing the Hebrews all the way to Canaan.  It was all schemed by Enlilites as part of their ultimate agenda to get a tight grip on Canaan.  The Enlilites wanted the Hebrews to depart Egypt,  at least for the time being, and populate Canaan, which at the time was dominated by the descendants not of Abraham but  of Canaan (who fittingly lent their name to the entire territory), the son of Ham.

It was via Jerusalem King Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, would land on planet Earth when he arrived from Nibiru and the appropriate people to welcome him were the Hebrews, the descendents of Shem and the legal owners of Canaan. If you recall, it  was  Shem’s people who were allocated Canaan when the Anunnaki partitioned the  known world after the Deluge of Noah’s day.

If the Enlilites wanted generations of Hebrews to have lived in Canaan by the time Anu returned, they were capable of orchestrating exactly that behind the scenes in whatever way would make it tenable. Thus using very tactfully sophisticated means to accomplish their end, they enfeebled the Hyksos and boosted the arsenals and military mettle of the indigenous Egyptians without the latter being aware that they were actually being aided and abetted by the very gods of their enemy. This Earth, My Brother …

PHARAOH AHMOSE RESTORES EGYPT TO GREATNESS

Throughout the 15 years that he was Pharaoh of a reunited Egypt (circa 1540-1525 BC), Ahmose saw to it that the Hyksos never again rebounded to present a thorn in the side of native Egyptians. He kept making inroads into Canaan and even as far as Syria and the Euphrates region  so as not to instill in them the merest sense of renewed hope of striking back at him again.

Not only did Ahmose recapture northern Egypt: he also overran Nubia (Sudan), whose leader had been an ally of the Hyksos and was therefore instrumental in bringing about southern Egypt’s economic strangulation.  Soon resources which southern Egypt was denied under Hykso hegemony now came in  flurries– gold and silver from Nubia; Lapis Lazuli from yonder in Central Asia; cedar from Lebanon; and turquoise from the re-opened mine at Serabit  El-Khadim in the Sinai wilds. The Egyptian empire prospered like never before and this was wholly under pitch-black rulers.

Now, northern Egypt was not completely emptied of the Hykso-Hebrew race. There were a few tens of thousands who had opted to remain in their bastion, Avaris, come what may out of fear of heading for a unfamiliar place, which was understandable having lived in Egypt for 500 years.  Of course Ahmose would have easily exterminated them if he wanted to for daring him, but he was not prepared to resort to such an extreme and barbaric measure in the spirit of botho. What he decided instead was to subject them to serfdom – slavery.

It was not that he exulted at seeing them in perpetual toil: this was done as a precautionary measure, with a view to ensuring that they did not regroup and launch a new uprising against central authority.  As far as Ahmose was concerned, the only safe Hebrew was an enslaved one. To his credit though, Hykso servitude under his rule was not that vindictive (that happened in the time of Ramses I, the Pharaoh of the Exodus, also referred to as the Pharaoh of the Oppression): it was relatively humane.

The Hyksos were mostly used in infrastructural projects. At the time, much of Avaris had been destroyed in the liberation war. Ahmose used free Hykso labour to rebuild it and renamed it Zaru. Zaru became the main outpost on the Asiatic frontier, the point at which Egyptian armies began and ended their campaigns against Canaan and Syria mainly. Although Ahmose made Thebes, in southern Egypt, the capital and chief religious centre of the country, he established his main residence at Memphis in northern Egypt to be close by in the event that Hyksos were up to some mischief.  

Ahmose died very young, from natural causes, in 1525 BC, at age 35. In fact, the greater majority of the 18th Dynasty’s 14 pharaohs died early. A modern-day surgeon at London’s Imperial College analysed the mummies of many of these pharaohs and determined that they likely died from a diseases of the nervous system known as  Temporal Lobotomy Epilepsy, which was embedded genetically in their case, an  adverse result, we suppose, of inbreeding as pharaonic marriages were typically between half or full siblings.   The disease typically begins at the end of the first or second decade of one’s life.

SIX MORE PHARAOHS RULE BEFORE JOSEPH’S DAY

Ahmosis was succeeded by his son Amenhotep I. Amenhotep (“Amen {Marduk}  is satisfied”) was not actually destined to rule.  His two older brothers, Sapair and Ankh, succumbed to illness before their father, which cleared the way for his ascension to the throne as the surviving eldest son. Amenhotep I was followed by Tuthmosis I.  His name meant “Son of Thoth”, Thoth being  the Egyptian name for Ningishzidda, Enki’s genius son.

All pharaohs were referred to as “Son of God”, the god being an Anunnaki whom they revered the most after the national god Marduk, who was known as Amen-Ra in Egypt. As such, Tuthmosis held Ningishzidda, who was reputed as the Anunnaki God of Knowledge and Wisdom, in very high esteem. This freedom of worship was thanks to Marduk. Marduk did not insist that his client kings worship him solely. He allowed them to worship whatever god they  wanted though in Egypt for one, this god had to be an Enkite.  But in his other jurisdictions, such as Babylon for instance, a king could even worship an Enlilite, a case in point being the great Hammurabi, who in his prayers invoked both Marduk and Utu-Shamash.

Tuthmosis I had 4 children with his chief wife Ahmose, 2 sons and daughters. Both his sons died before him and so for his heir, he settled for the eldest son of his junior wife. The son succeeded him as Tuthmosis II. But in order to secure his kingship, Tuthmosis II had to marry Hatshepsut, his half-sister, who was Tuthmosis I’s eldest daughter. Tuthmosis II and Hatshepsut had one child, a daughter. His successor, Tuthmosis  III,  therefore came from a junior wife. At the time of the pharaoh’s death, however, Tuthmosis III was just a little boy and so Hatshepsut ruled in his stead as regent.    

However, when  Tuthmosis III came of age, Hatshepsut refused to step down from the throne. Her bone of contention was that she merited being pharaoh even more than  Tuthmosis III in that her real  father, so she claimed, was not Tuthmosis I but the god Marduk himself, who had stealthily impregnated her mother Nefertiri. In the event, Tuthmosis III and her struck a compromise whereby by they ruled jointly, though it was Hatshepsut who really  called the shots. She ruled with distinction and has been  described as “the first great woman in history of whom we are informed”. She was the second female pharaoh after Sobkneferu of the 12th Dynasty, the only other female pharaoh being Cleopatra, the last pharaoh.

Tuthmosis III did become his own pharaoh after Hatshepsut’s death,  whereupon he ruled for the next 30 years or so.  A highly ambitious and expansionist ruler, he has been dubbed the “Napoleon of Egypt”, its greatest conqueror. During his tenure, he waged just under 20 wars and seized and captured over 350 cities stretching from Nubia (Sudan) to the Euphrates. This included the entire land of Canaan, which you must take note of as it is significant at this stage of the overall narrative.

Tuthmosis III was succeeded by Amenhotep II. Like his namesake Amenhotep I, Amenhotep II was not the natural heir. The natural heir, Amenemhat, and his mother died during Amehotep I’s reign. Following the death of his queen, Thothmosis III married a new wife, a non-royal. It was this non-royal wife who became the mother of Amenhotep II.

Amenhotep II was born and raised in Memphis in northern Egypt, where Hebrews teemed. Although he maintained the vast kingdom created by his father,  Amenhotep II was not keen on wars. He in fact forged a sustained peace with the Kingdom  of Mittani, which  was vying for Egypt for the control of Syria. But it was under Tuthmosis IV, the 8th pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, that the Enlilites made the first decisive step to regain rulership of Egypt.

BIBLE MERGES SEVERAL PERSONS INTO ONE

At this juncture, we enter a rather grey area in the history of the Hebrew patriarchs. That is because the authors of the Old Testament have a tendency to merge the life histories of two to three different people into one (something akin to knitting together key events from the lives of Khama I, Khama II, and Khama III and presenting them in history as simply story of one person known as Khama) but without directly stating so.

For example, we know, courtesy of the Sumerian records, that when Genesis talks about Adam, it is actually talking about three Adams – the first primitive and sterile Adam, who was brought about (by way of genetic engineering) by Enki; the second, sexually productive  Adam,  who was placed in the garden of Eden (that is, the Edin in modern-day Iraq) and later expelled; and Adapa,  Enki’s son with an Earthling woman and who has gone into the annals of mankind as the first civilised human.  These three Adams were separated by thousands of years but Genesis fuses them into one, composite individual.


By the same token, there must have been several eminent, genetically related individuals who went by the names Jacob and  Joseph, but Genesis gives the impression, wrongly, that there was only one Jacob and one Joseph. Let’s take Joseph. According to the more comprehensive and reliable Egyptian records, Joseph rose to prominence in Egypt during the reigns of Pharaohs Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III. These two pharaohs were in power during the  14th century BC. But Joseph,  Jacob’s son,  came along in the 16th century BC, which makes the 14th century BC Joseph a different person altogether although he certainly was a descendant of Jacob and the 16th century BC Joseph.

The above anomalies explain why  the Bible, when it  talks about the pharaohs of both Moses’s and Joseph’s day, does not specify by name which particular pharaoh it was, thus leaving us guessing.  Clearly, the authors of Genesis knew they had blended several Josephs or Jacobs into one individual and to associate them with only one particular pharaoh would have been the height of absurdity.

In the same vein, we now can understand  why such featureless names as Joseph or Moses were employed. We know they were not real names: Joseph meant “scion of a sheep”(to cite just one probable meaning as there were several), or simply Jew (sheep were known as Ewes in antiquity, which is pronounced Jew today) and Moses simply meant “son of”. If you are talking about different persons who you have merged into one composite figure, you play it safe by assigning  such a wooly name to that figure.     

Having regard to the aforesaid state of affairs, we must be wary that we do not be very dogmatic about timelines. In any case, historians and scholars themselves are not unanimous on the timelines of both the biblical patriarchs and the Egyptian pharaohs. They are the  first  to admit that most of the timelines are conjectural.

JOSEPH CHOSEN AS ENLIL’S TROJAN HORSE

According to Genesis, Joseph was sold to Egyptian slave merchants by his brothers out of sheer jealous as he was his father’s favourite child.  Of course reading the story at face value, which portrays the Jacobite family as simple, rural backwater sheep herders, one might naively believe the story when it is pure poppycock.

Maybe I’m repeating this for the hundredth time now:  the biblical patriarchs were not poor people. They were a rich dynasty, a ruling line.  They were never a poor, struggling clan. When they are referred to as shepherds, what that simply means is that they were their God Jehovah-Enlil’s docile followers, that is, theoretically at least, they obeyed him without question, stupidly, like sheep. The term shepherd also implied that they were the custodians (by hook and crook albeit) of the Age of the Ram, the Age of Sheep. That was what Enlil had designated them as.

So what point are we trying to drive across folks? It is that there was utterly no way a monarchic family would have sold a brother in the manner Genesis describes. The story is a total fiction. Every member of a dynastic family was always accompanied by a retinue of bodyguards especially in those turbulent times. The dynastic family head had spies permeating every aspect of life. That’s why when Reuben slept with his father’s wife, he was easily found out.  

If you want to know the real story of Joseph, you should turn to the Sumerian records, where you can piece together how events panned out, or immerse yourself into the works of Egyptologists. Joseph wasn’t sold into slavery in Egypt: he was deliberately planted. Why? The Enlilites, who had lost northern Egypt in 1525 BC and consequently hegemony over all Egypt, wanted to retake the country.

This wasn’t going to be by way of armed warfare: that would have been suicidal given that at the time, black-ruled Egypt was the superpower of the world, the America of the day. Egypt had to be re-conquered using tact. And the chosen spearhead of this programme of action was none other than Joseph. As indicated above, this Joseph was not necessarily the son of the familiar Jacob: he was almost certainly a different Joseph with a different father though he was a scion of the same dynastic family that was spawned ages before by Abraham.

WHY JOSEPH WAS APT

Why did the Enlilites choose Joseph in particular as the powder keg in their long-term strategy to win back Egypt, a critical country as it housed the aeronautically and metaphysically important Giza Pyramid?   There are several reasons. First, he was the bloodline heir. He might have been young but he certainly was born to the main wife of a 14th century Jacob. Second, he was exceedingly good looking and we all know that good looks can easily disarm people (ask Barack Obama or Prince William).

Third, he exuded a lot of charisma, another quality which almost automatically elicits a high and positive regard from people. Fourth, he was palpably  intelligent. He had the capacity to intellectually impress. Fifth, he exhibited gifts of a seer. He could interpret dreams and forecast future scenarios and that was at a very early age.  Finally, he was bold,  assertive,  and supremely confident in himself.

For example, he did not shrink from getting his older brothers to understand that that he was the most important person in the family, that all his brothers were his subjects futuristically, and he said that without batting an eyelid. Thus if you wanted to infiltrate and ultimately topple the enemy from the pedestal of power, Joseph, with his raft of qualities, was just the right person to deploy in such a potentially dangerous mission.

Now, with qualities such as Joseph possessed, he would easily attract attention and even curiosity from the Egyptian intelligence spooks who permeated practically every aspect of Egyptian society.  Indeed, his accent and skin colour would easily give him away. Soon he would be interrogated and it would emerge that he was a son of a powerful Hebrew political dynasty back in Canaan, who once ruled northern Egypt and were therefore   anathema to the Egyptian establishment. Once so exposed, he would be charged for espionage and end up  either in jail or in the grave. As such, to get him into Egypt anonymously, the Enlilites would have to use tact. Exactly what would that be?

NEXT WEEK:   JOSEPH ON CREST OF WAVE

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A “Virgin” Conceives

2nd March 2021
IT’S THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, STUPID

Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph

To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua  (Jesus in Greek) III.

Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC.  He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.

Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.

Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.

Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary.  Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.

Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans.  Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.

JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”

Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.

The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a  “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.

The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches.  Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.

The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.

Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee.  In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.

According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.

At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.

According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).

The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.

Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.

Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.

A BINDING ENGAGEMENT

According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.

Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.

Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan.  This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June.  From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.

Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.

For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”.  In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.

Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.

That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.

The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were   turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.

Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah.  There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.

The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.

They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.”   The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.

This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.

NEXT WEEK: THE PANTERA INVOLVEMENT

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A crash course in publicity

2nd March 2021

The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.

Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the  Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:

In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.

When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.

When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.

The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.

Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.

I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.

The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.

The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.

Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.

There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.

In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.

In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!

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Pact with the Devil

2nd March 2021
THE LORD’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER

How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod

If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with  them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees.  Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.

Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.

In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy.   The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.

The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes  “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.

Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees.     The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.

How did the Essene movement come about, General?  The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran,  about 40 km from Jerusalem.

Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.

The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue  … Since [they are] despisers of wealth –  their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.

For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”

In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of  Palestine in 63 BC,  he sought the opinion  of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In  142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic  King.

In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.

JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD

About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.

He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem.   The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.

It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the  Diaspora Essenes.

He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.

Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.

When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong  exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.

His father, Antipater,  had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in  the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a  mere figurehead king.  When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee.   Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.

As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.

There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.

The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.

Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.

When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.

FALLOUT WITH ESSENES

Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.

In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known.  Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.

In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of  the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.

The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.

THE SAGA OF JOSEPH

The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.

The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.

To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had  gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of  David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.

In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule.   Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.

Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.

In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles  and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.

NEXT WEEK: HOW HEROD MINIMISED THE HOUSE OF DAVID

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